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Client interviewing competition for England and Wales: success for Cardiff

30 January 2014

With the Competition’s President, Sir Geoffrey Bindman, we are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of this law school skills competition, which seeks to encourage the promotion of the skills involved with client interviewing within an educational context.

The Client Interviewing Competition started in the UK in 1984, following its inception in the United States. It is an annual competition for law students: on undergraduate, Legal Practice Course, Bar Professional Training Course and Graduate Diploma in Law courses. It centres on a simulated law office interview with law students, working in teams of two, interviewing and advising a "client".

Their management of the interview is assessed according to the judging criteria, for example establishing a good working relationship with the client, recognising and handling the legal problems, ethical and personal issues, including costs, and finally offering appropriate advice. It requires students not merely to know the law relating to a particular subject matter, but also to employ effective interviewing techniques and be aware of a variety of considerations which they might not otherwise appreciate as law students. A post-interview reflection is an integral part of the competition, which allows the students to explain their techniques, discuss the law and their projected strategies and provides an opportunity for self-criticism.

This year, a record 30 law schools throughout England and Wales entered. On Saturday 25th January there were three regional heats at Sheffield, London and Cardiff, hosted by major national law firms, Irwin Mitchell, Macfarlanes and Hugh James respectively.

We are delighted that the Cardiff team of final year undergraduates, Helen Gollop and Rachelle Green, won the Wales/West regional. The team is coached by Matthew Parry, a former Cardiff student and 2005 International Competition winner in Hawaii. They will join eleven other law schools on 1st March in the national Final at Winchester Law School, last year’s winners. Students will battle it out for the title of national champions and to represent England and Wales in the 2014 International Final sponsored by the International Bar Association, in Puerto Rico.

This year’s law topic for interviews in the 20 or so participating countries, ranging from the USA to China, from Australia to India, is “Commercial Contracts”. We see this as an excellent opportunity to reaffirm the importance of commercial awareness to our students, as well as to hone increasingly-important client-communication skills.

If you would like to learn more about the England/Wales competition, or its International partner Competition, please take a look at www.clientinterviewing.com and www.brownmosten.com .

Julie Price, Director of Engagement and Employability at Cardiff Law School, and Co-Chair of the Client Interviewing Competition for England and Wales.

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